Not only do we have a disturbing number of missing persons in Hopeless this autumn, we also have a most perplexing missing body. The recently exhumed remains, as displayed in the Memorial Library, have gone missing. Librarian Vortigern Frog claims to have seen nothing, and to have no idea how the bones disappeared. Thieves left the grave goods, making this look more like a joke than not. It depresses me that anyone might find such pointless things amusing. Dear citizens, can we not do better than this?
Reverend Davies tells me that vandalism has been a problem in the graveyard lately, with signs of digging and other disturbances. What is becoming of the young people of Hopeless? How have we let this come to pass? Each of us has a responsibility to install better morals into our young people, and to make sure they are kept busy and productive, rather than being left to run amok.
Normally I do little more than naming the dead. It is the end of a story and I would rather share interesting news, things we can do something about. This morning, the word ‘Dead’ appeared, crafted from fish just outside my house. From the word came a trail of debris – shells, fish, driftwood, stones, leading all the way across town to the O’Stoat house. Others had found and followed the trail and a crowd had gathered there before I arrived. As no one else seemed inclined to venture in, I did so myself. The house was entirely empty, aside from human remains. Doc Willoughby is investigating and hopes to identify the body. It would appear that one of the O’Stoats is dead, and the other two have fled. Another sad chapter in the life of this cursed family.
Some bright spark left the word ‘Why’ outside my front door the day after last week’s Vendetta came out. Once again, the word was formed out of sea life, although this time there were several crabs and a starfish. At least I assume the word was ‘why’ as what may have been part of the central bar of the ‘h’ was still alive and some distance down the road. I beleive this to have been a childish prank.
No big news story this week, dear readers. The excitement with the new grave has led to much speculation, but as yet no answers. Science is slow, I am told. Anyone wishing to view the bones and grave goods can do so at the library.
No definite updates on last week’s missing persons, although there have been a few suspected sightings. This week Regan Higsbottom and Endora Frog-Jones have also been reported missing. This is the second time Regan has been announced as lost this year. How we can have lost so many people on an island this small, I do not know. Search parties will be out this Saturday. Please help if you can.
Digging for a new privy in his back garden this week, Jasper Fingle uncovered what may be the oldest grave on the island. Bones and artefacts found in the grave raise questions about who was here first and how long the island has been settled. Local historian and schoolteacher Arlingham Jones told me “It’s the most exciting find the island has ever seen. The body is very old. It predates all records of settlement here. The remains are being kept in the town’s library for further study, and the items with them will go on display there.”
Alongside the remains were found a copper mirror, a pot, and several items as yet unidentified. Reverend Davies said “Clearly this wasn’t a proper Christian burial. We should carry out a proper funeral at once.” Doc Willoughby has been asked to examine the remains and Jasper Fingle is proposing to dig over the rest of his garden in the hopes of finding more graves.
The following people have been reported missing during the last week: Malcolm Attila, Vespers Jones, Dimity Witherspoon. In all three instances there was no sign of a struggle, or a body. This is the highest count of missing adults we’ve had in one week, and so far there are no leads. Please get in touch if you hear anything.
‘Perhaps’ a single word formed out of the mortal remains of sea creatures, was this week found outside our Town Hall. No small amount of care and effort must have gone into dragging those fishy remains inland and arranging them – all in the dead of night.
What does it mean? It’s hardly a strong word. ‘No’ might have constituted a protest against the night of dancing held there and we could have looked to our religiously conservative citizens for an explanation. A word of anger or rebellion might have suggested the work of frustrated younger citizens. I can think of many powerful, meaningful words to have shared (although I would never employ the medium of rotting fish), but ‘perhaps’ is not one of them. The ambiguity is maddening! Why go to such effort in order to say so little?
By midday, wild birds had eaten most of the word. I kept watch there myself and can assure my readers that none of the word will make its way into any meals or food products.
If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it! That would be good advice for any new and untried food stuff. (I’ve had seventeen claims that The Crow’s Windfall Pie was poisonous). Mushrooms are coming into season. Some are very good to eat. The little white ones with black undersides are fine, but do not mistake them for the little white ones with a rather unwholesome green underside. Not only will these make you sick, but they are guaranteed to give you at least a week of wishing you were dead. Make sure your children are not tempted by the big shiny red ones – remember what happened last year with the hallucinated demon scare? And the year before when young Jaime Boff set fire to the town’s library because he was convinced it was going to eat him.
If in doubt, don’t! And that goes for novelty foodstuffs offered by The Crow, as well. Windfall Pie is now off the menu, I am pleased to tell you, replaced by ‘Roots in Pastry’ which sounds a good deal safer.
I no longer have boils. Thank you to everyone who expressed concern.